Cirias’ thread about themes got me thinking about this, and rather than hijack that thread I thought I’d start a new one. So I know how I write, but I’m wondering how others go about it.

Take the last flash comp (the dolls one) – I set the topic of dolls with a vague idea I that I could write something ethnic and old English folklore-ish about corn dollies and traditional witchcraft. As you can see from the end product, that didn’t go very well at all. Here’s why:

I go to work and do the usual mundane things for a few days, occasionally thinking “I really ought to get around to writing something for that flash competition” and not doing it.

We’re about a week into the October flash and I’m sitting at the computer that evening thinking “it’s my flash comp, I really ought to enter something to make up the numbers”, and I’ve got absolutely nowhere with corn dollies and old English folklore other than “it’d be really cool if I wrote something about corn dollies.” Something about corn dollies is so far completely not getting written.

I’ve had a few beers and I’m listening to an old Marillion album (I know, I know….) while my wife is watching TV in the other room, and I’ve got as far as writing “The village”. Hmmm, it’s not going very well so far.

The Marillion album plays a track called “Punch and Judy” (which is awesome, by the way, if you’re old enough to miss the eighties, and someone like me who things "suburbanshee" is one of the best words ever coined in a song! - and I think – Punch and Judy! Yes! No. They’re puppets not dolls. Bugger. Oh well, no one will notice.

Two hundred words in and Judy’s dead baby becomes a plastic child’s doll because that’s what I see her carrying when I’m writing it. She was (in my head) supposed to be carrying around this blue rotting dead baby, but she just isn’t, she’s carrying a plastic toy baby that she thinks is a real dead baby, and why in the world would she think it was a real dead baby not a real live baby unless she was so far off the psycho scale that…. and the rest of it pretty much wrote itself.

So anyway, that’s usually how my writing writes itself. You?